Loo falls to van­dal­ism

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Rhi­an­non Hor­rell

VI­O­LENT van­dal­ism of a pub­lic toi­let in Oranga has seen it out of action for five years and now plans are in place to move it from the trou­bled spot.

The $80,000 No­valoo toi­let block – next to the Oranga Com­mu­nity Cen­tre and Fer­gus­son Do­main – was built in Jan­uary 2004. It closed three months later be­cause of weekly van­dal­ism at­tacks.

Dam­age in­cluded the door mech­a­nism be­ing bro­ken, toi­let bowls and basins be­ing smashed, light fit­tings re­moved and plumb­ing stolen, says Auck­land City Coun­cil man­ager of parks ser­vices Mark Bowa­ter.

He says con­tin­ual re­pairs cost the coun­cil be­tween $1000 and $2000 per van­dal­ism strike, de­pend­ing on what was dam­aged.

De­spite be­ing shut down, the toi­lets have con­tin­ued to be tar­geted.

Lo­cal res­i­dent Te Awhi Cooper says dur­ing Guy Fawkes last week, youngsters were stuff­ing lit fire­works through a gap above the toi­let door to mag­nify the ex­plo­sive sound.

“It makes a big boom. You can hear it way down by the shops.

“Be­cause it’s a low so­cioe­co­nomic area, van­dal­ism is preva­lent and there are a high num­ber of youths.”

She says the two-toi­let com­plex is also prone to graf­fiti, with coun­cil staff vis­it­ing reg­u­larly to re­move it.

Ms Cooper says there are toi­lets in­side the com­mu­nity cen­tre but out­side of hours the near­est pub­lic toi­lets are a five minute drive away.

“You wouldn’t bother walk­ing, you’d just go home.

“You feel sorry for peo­ple who play sports here,” she says.

She says the coun­cil should have con­sid­ered what type of toi­lets would fit the area and built some­thing less prone to van­dal­ism.

Maun­gakiekie Com­mu­nity Board chair­woman Brid­get Gra­ham says she’s aware of the long-term prob­lems with the toi­let.

She says it would be fixed for a cou­ple of days and then get van­dalised again.

“Fi­nally the coun­cil got sick and tired of it. The good law-abid­ing ma­jor­ity suf­fer from the an­tics of a few who don’t care.”

She says she’s un­sure what the weapon of choice was but says it could have been a ham­mer be­cause the dam­age was “se­ri­ous van­dal­ism”.

“It is not cheap to re­place.”

Mr Bowa­ter says the Oranga toi­let will be re­fur­bished and re­lo­cated to an­other site in the next cou­ple of months.

“There are no plans to re­place the toi­let at this site be­cause it is not sus­tain­able to con­tinue to pro­vide a pub­lic toi­let in a lo­ca­tion where it is re­peat­edly van­dalised.”

He says most pub­lic toi­lets are built in a sim­i­lar way with ro­bust fit­tings.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Re­peat prob­lems: Lo­cal mother Te Awhi Cooper, with daugh­ter Quine­sha, says this toi­let block in Oranga has not been work­ing for sev­eral years.

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